Original Research

New Razor Technology Improves Appearance and Quality of Life in Men With Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

Author and Disclosure Information

Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) consists of ingrown hairs leading to papules, pustules, and discomfort. This prospective, 12-week clinical study aimed to assess the appearance of males with razor bumps and shaving irritation when using a new razor technology with 2 blades separated by a bridge feature (SkinGuard [Procter & Gamble]). The impact on participants’ shave-related itching, burning, and stinging severity, as well as quality of life (QOL), also was assessed. In men with PFB, shaving with the test razor at least 5 times per week over a 12-week period improved the appearance and QOL of males with razor bumps and shaving irritation compared with baseline.

Practice Points

  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) is a common follicular inflammatory disorder associated with shaving, most commonly seen in men of African ancestry. It can be distressing and cause a substantial impact on quality of life (QOL).
  • Frequent use of a novel razor technology designed specifically for men with PFB was found to improve skin appearance and QOL after 12 weeks vs baseline.
  • This razor technology provides an alternative approach to help manage PFB for men who wish to or need to continue shaving.


 

References

Pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB)(also known as razor bumps or shaving bumps)1 is a skin condition that consists of papules resulting from ingrown hairs.2 In more severe cases, papules become pustules, then abscesses, which can cause scarring.1,2 The condition can be distressing for patients, with considerable negative impact on their daily lives.3 The condition also is associated with shaving-related stinging, burning, pruritus, and cuts on the skin.4

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is most common in men of African descent due to the curved nature of the hair follicle,2,5,6 with an estimated prevalence in this population of 45% to 83%,1,6 but it can affect men of other ethnicities.7 A genetic polymorphism in a gene encoding a keratin specific to the hair follicle also has been found to predispose some individuals to PFB.5 When hair from a curved or destabilized hair follicle is cut to form a sharp tip, it is susceptible to extrafollicular and/or transfollicular penetration,5,6,8 as illustrated in Figure 1.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae has been associated with shaving

FIGURE 1. Pseudofolliculitis barbae has been associated with shaving. A, In extrafollicular penetration, hair grows out of the follicle, curves, and regrows back toward the skin. The shaved hair tip penetrates the skin. B, In transfollicular penetration, the tip of a regrowing hair pierces through the hair follicle wall before the hair grows out of the skin. (Figures have been scaled to show beard hair diameter [~100 μm] relative to the approximate thickness of the epidermis and dermis of the lower cheek and chin.)

With extrafollicular or transfollicular penetration, the hair shaft re-enters or retracts into the dermis, triggering an inflammatory response that may be exacerbated by subsequent shaving.2 Few studies have been published that aim to identify potential shaving solutions for individuals with PFB who elect to or need to continue shaving.

A new razor technology comprising 2 blades separated by a bridge feature has been designed specifically for men with razor bumps (SkinGuard [Procter & Gamble]). The SkinGuard razor redistributes shaving pressure so that there is less force from the blades on the skin and inflamed lesions than without the bridge, as seen in Figure 2. The razor has been designed to protect the skin from the blades, thereby minimizing the occurrence of new lesions and allowing existing lesions to heal.

Test razor bridge feature (SkinGuard [Procter & Gamble]) minimizes the force of the razor blades on the skin. Copyright 2022 The Procter & Gamble Company.

FIGURE 2. Test razor bridge feature (SkinGuard [Procter & Gamble]) minimizes the force of the razor blades on the skin. Copyright 2022 The Procter & Gamble Company.

The primary purpose of this study was to assess the appearance of males with razor bumps and shaving irritation when using the new razor technology in a regular shaving routine. The secondary objective was to measure satisfaction of the shaving experience when using the new razor by means of assessing itching, burning, and stinging using the participant global severity assessment (PGSA) and the impact on quality of life (QOL) measures.

Methods

Participants—Eligible participants were male, aged 20 to 60 years, and had clinically diagnosed PFB as well as symptoms of skin irritation from shaving. Participants were recruited from a dermatology clinic and via institutional review board–approved advertising.

Those eligible for inclusion in the study had a shaving routine that comprised shaving at least 3 times a week using a wet-shave, blade-razor technique accompanied by only a shave gel or foam. In addition, eligible participants had mild to moderate symptoms of skin irritation (a minimum of 10 razor bumps) from shaving based on investigator global severity assessment (IGSA) rating scales and were willing to shave at least 5 times a week during the study period. Participants could continue certain topical and systemic interventions for their skin.

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